As was expected, Netanyahu’s Likud party emerged victorious after the Israeli elections-but only by a hare. The party lost 1/3 of its seats in Parliament and the opposition, relatively liberal party Yesh Atid won just 12 less seats. Yesh Atid is determined to revive talks over a two-state solution and ban the benefits granted to certain Jewish sects that many have claimed qualify Israel as an apartheid state. This comes in the midst of an Israel adapting to a changing global climate.
This comes in the midst of Israel threatening to build new settlements in East Jerusalem. Palestine already condemned this action and independent observers have already agreed that this is a simple provocation to exacerbate tensions and reduce the likelihood of peace talks. Yesh Atid will likely prevent Likud from undertaking this action and also ensure that the rights of Palestinians in current settlements are upheld.
This comes in the midst of growing conflict over Palestine’s role in the U.N. Palestine first got observer status, which Israel opposed. Now, the U.S. and Israel have grown angrier over Palestine’s placard at the United Nations claiming “State of Palestine.” Palestinian sovereignty is a bit of a circular issue. Israel says it will not recognize Palestinian sovereignty until the nation is united politically and gets rid of terrorist regimes while Palestine claims that international recognition and subsequent foreign aid is a necessary precursor to political unity. It seems that Yesh Atid may also grant Palestinain greater flexibility in its supposed pursuit of stability and ousting Fatah and HAMAS.
This is in the midst of a new Middle East shaped by the Arab Springs in which Islamism and anti-Americanism and even strong anti-Israeli sentiments are commonplace.
With all of these new developments, the rise of Yesh Atid may be just what Israel, Palestine, and even the United States needs.
Despite the support of the world’s largest military and NATO, an alliance making up around 60% of world military spending, Israel is weak. It is surrounded by increasingly hostile neighbors and a world where the East is gaining more economic and, consequently, diplomatic power.
This rise of liberalism in Israel leading to a weaker Israel state is quite obviously to Palestine’s advantage. It gives them greater leveraging power in a two-state solution.
It is also to America’s benefit. America is a long proponent of a two-state solution. After all, a two-state solution brokered by the United States would show its diplomatic powers. Such a solution would, of course, be more possible after the election of a more moderate Israeli regime.
It appears that all parties involved will benefit from the rise of Yesh Atid- in the long term at least.